Welcome to UK Poetry - May 2006



Welcome to the third UK issue on Poetry International Web. Attentive readers, who will have seen work from Welsh and Northern Irish poets in previous issues, will doubtless be expecting a Scottish flavour to this issue, and will not be disappointed. In fact, both of our guest editors, WN Herbert and Roddy Lumsden, are Scottish poets of some distinction. Herbert provides our overview of the contemporary Scottish poetry scene, along with poems from David Kinloch and Tracey Herd; Lumsden, now a London resident, introduces us to the work of John Stammers and Jen Hadfield, who has made a home for herself in the Hebrides.

The poems selected look widely for their inspiration, whether that be geographical, temporal, or even bibliographical. There are subjects from distant sheep to a close-up of freshly-given milk, from organic supermarkets to a sixteenth-century castle, and references to the New York School, Agatha Christie, Robert Louis Stevenson and Anglo-Saxon. These are poems full of life and myth, of horses and angels, queens and shadows, films and fairytales; poems to covet, as in the title of Hadfield's 'Thou shalt want want want'.

Hadfield, who now holds the record of being the youngest poet on the UK pages, is a voice from a new and talented generation, which alone would give this issue some proof of being interested in the cutting edge of UK poetry. Further to that, though, there is much new work in these pages, Kinloch and Herd representing themselves entirely by new poems, making this issue not only interested in the cutting edge of new UK poetry, but committed to it. Read on, and enjoy.

W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, and studied English at Oxford. He published his postgraduate thesis as To Circumjack MacDiarmid with OUP in 1992, and in 1994 was selected as a New Generation Poet. He is a highly versatile writer in English and Scots, capable of both tender lyricism and phantasmagorical satires, often wreaking havoc with cherished myths. His five Bloodaxe collections have won three Scottish Arts Council book awards, and had three Poetry Book Society Recommendations. In 2000 he edited Strong Words: modern poets on modern poetry, with Matthew Hollis. His most recent collections are The Big Bumper Book of Troy (2002), and Bad Shaman Blues (2006). He teaches Creative Writing and Modern British Poetry at Newcastle University.

Roddy Lumsden has published four books of poetry, most recently Mischief Night - New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe). He has been shortlisted for several major poetry prizes and edited The Message, a book on poetry and popular music, and Anvil New Poets 3. He teaches at City University and Morley College and and has done editing work on several prize-winning poetry collections. He is organiser and host of the monthly reading series FourCast and works as a puzzle writer and list compiler. Poems can be seen at http://www.vitamin-p.co.uk.

© Andrew Bailey  
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